How’s the process of rebooting the team going? After some grueling practices this week, John Calipari said he’s confident his guys are on the right path, but warned that getting out of the slump won’t happen overnight.
“We did what we have to do,” Calipari said of practice this week. “I feel much better we’re in the direction but when it takes you three weeks to get to a point, it’s going to take you time to get out of it and it’s because you’re trying to create different habits, both offensively and defensively. Some it was just plain energy and effort and enthusiasm, and others were technical stuff, both on offense and defense that we had to do different things. It’s not always just ‘play harder.’ Some of it is. I thought it was good – we’re on a good path.”
Calipari said because some of his players played on weak high school teams, they’ve gotten into the habit of just worrying about themselves even if the rest of the squad isn’t playing well. Breaking them of that habit is what the past week has been all about.
“You’ve got high school kids who played on bad high school teams. When things went wrong, ‘I’m fine. It’s them.’ Well, you can’t do that here. You just can’t do that here. That’s no longer the defense mechanism. ‘I’ll act like it doesn’t matter because that’s what I did in high school because I blamed it on the other’ — You can’t do that here. This thing is, you’ve gotta compete.”
In an effort to inspire his guys to take each play personally, Calipari used an example of one of his most famous pupils, Derrick Rose.
“I told them the story of Derrick Rose, we’re getting ready for an NCAA Tournament game, he’s playing against another point guard that they’re talking about and he says to me before the game, ‘Watch this.’ And I watched it. I watched him just go absolutely dominate the guy. You’ve gotta take it personal and when you don’t, you’re not what you think you are. But at the end of the day, everybody gets hurt.”
“There’s a responsibility each guy has to sit down, here’s the things you have to do better. Some of it is, these guys have to take stuff personal and when you take it personal, you play a little different. When you think, hey, I’m okay, it’s everybody else, that’s when you have issues. We’ve gotta have every guy take this stuff personal, know where they’re breaking down and what you’ve gotta do.”